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Events


‘The 21st Century Revolution: A Call to Greatness’ with Bruce Nixon
Wednesday 21st September, 7pm
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‘The Truth About Trident: Disarming The Nuclear Argument’ with Timmon Wallis
Thursday 22nd September, 7pm
Read more...

‘Irregular War: ISIS and the New Threat from the Margins’ with Paul Rogers 
Wednesday 5th October, 7pm
Read more...

‘Understanding Eritrea: Inside Africa’s Most Repressive State’ with Martin Plaut
Wednesday 12th October, 7pm
Read more...

‘Purple Prose: Bisexuality in Britain’ with Kate Harrad
Wednesday 19th October, 7pm
Read more...

‘The Bonnot Gang: The Story of the French Illegalists’ with Richard Parry
Friday 28th October, 7pm
Read more...

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IN-STORE EVENTS at HOUSMANS

We regularly have a variety of events in the shop, and are always welcome for suggestions from authors, artists and campaigners who want to use the shop for evening events. Past events include talks, book signings, film screenings, art exhibitions and musical performances.

Click here for an archive; which includes a number of selected filmed highlights, of our previous events. Also, you can view video from some special events here.

Click the following button if you would like to directly add our events to your smartphone or desktop calendar using Google Calendar.

BOOK EVENT
‘Social-Democracy and Anarchism: In the International Workers' Association, 1864-1877’ with Rene Berthier
Wednesday 7th September, 7pm
Entry £3, redeemable against any purchase

Housmans are delighted to welcome René Berthier to discuss his book, which revisits, in depth, the profound historic split between Anarchist and Marxist Social Democrats which occurred in the First International.

Much of the ongoing IWA were inspired by Bakunin. He argued for the priority of labour solidarity. But it was not an anarchist International that was created in 1872. Anarchism was born some five years later, when Bakunin was dead. Rather, the adoption of anarchism by the remnants of the IWA marked a breach with Bakuninism.

Berthier’s account also shows how the International Workers’ Association (IWA) was formed in 1864 by French and British trade unionists and quickly became a forum for socialist discussion over both strategy and goals; how Marx and Engels used bureaucratic manipulation to secure their control over the body and, in so doing, marginalise themselves so completely they ended up expelling the majority of the organisation; that Bakunin came to play a key role in the IWA because he articulated the majority position, what came to be called  “syndicalist”.

After the Paris Commune (1871), Bakunin characterised Marx's ideas as authoritarian, and argued that if a Marxist party came to power its leaders would end up as bad as the ruling class they had fought against. In 1872, the conflict in the First International climaxed with a final split between the two groups at the Hague Congress. This clash is often cited as the origin of the long-running conflict between anarchists and Marxists.

This split is sometimes called the ‘red and black divide’, red referring to the Marxists and black referring to the anarchists. Otto von Bismarck remarked, upon hearing of the split at the First International, "Crowned heads, wealth and privilege may well tremble should ever again the Black and Red unite!"

Reviews

“This is an excellent work, recommended to both anarchist activists and those interested in the rise of modern, revolutionary, anarchism.” – Anarchist Writers

“This book is a credit to its author, who has thoroughly researched the available evidence on this subject.” – Weekly Worker

About the Author

Rene Berthier is an active researcher, writer, and a veteran French anarcho-syndicalist activist.

BOOK EVENT
‘Betraying a Generation: How Education is Failing Young People’ with Patrick Ainley
Wednesday 14th September 7pm
Entry £3, redeemable against any purchase


Housmans are delighted to welcome Patrick Ainley, to discuss his latest book published by Policy Press, which shows how for generations we have been told that the way to move up in our society is through education: stay in school, work hard, and you'll go far. But that's no longer true. Today's young people study harder but learn less, ending up over-qualified yet underemployed.

In this book Patrick shows how education in England has been thoroughly compromised by being reoriented away from learning and toward the economy, with devastating results. ‘Betraying a Generation: How Education is Failing Young People’ concludes by suggesting how schools, colleges and universities can begin to contribute towards a more meaningful and productive society.

Reviews

“This book decisively debunks the conventional wisdom of neoliberalism and ‘human capital’ theory and as such is an essential read.” – Morning Star

“Ever thought school was stupid, college a treadmill, and universities neglected your interest? Have you been propelled towards jobs that either didn’t exist or that you wish didn’t?  If you need to know what is really going on in the education and labor markets, I recommend this book.” -- Danny Dorling, University of Oxford

About the Author

Professor of Education at Greenwich University and Visiting Fellow at New College Oxford, Patrick Ainley taught in schools, colleges and universities, writing on youth and education; From School to YTS (1988) and Lost Generation? (2010).

 


BOOK LAUNCH

Brexit Boris by Heathcote Williams’

presented by the Public Reading Rooms
Thursday September 15th, 7pm
Entry £3, redeemable against any purchase


Join us at Housmans for an evening of chat and wine, words and poetry to launch our new book and our new project - Brexit Boris by Heathcote Williams and the Public Reading Rooms. We hope to be joined by Heathcote and a range of luminaries and illuminaries. 

Entry £3 which can be redeemed against Brexit Boris and gets you a free glass of vino. We will be visiting Boris's house in Highbury to drop off a copy of the book beforehand. Feel free to meet up with us there. email us www.prruk.org


BOOK EVENT
‘The 21st Century Revolution: A Call to Greatness’
with Bruce Nixon

Wednesday 21st September, 7pm
Entry £3, redeemable against any purchase


We are in the midst of a great revolution. Every century has its revolutions and ours is no exception. It is multi-faceted and interconnected. There is a revolution in science, medicine and technology. The scientific and technological revolution will transform our lives, our work and the world as we know it. Undoubtedly, many of these developments will bring enormous benefits, particularly in the area of human health. However, equally, they could result in the even greater concentration of power and wealth in the hands of the few. The danger is we’ll be deluded by techno-fixes.

We are also in the midst of an economic and political revolution. All over the West, Neoliberal economic ideology, austerity, consumerism, free-market capitalism and top down politics are being challenged, especially by younger people. The internet is transforming politics by facilitating dialogue and giving power to people. In the year of the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, and after an election that gave power to a UK government with only 37% of the votes, there are growing calls for a fair voting system, radical reform of outdated democratic institutions and a different way of doing politics. The story of Syriza in Greece has much in common with Spain's Podemos, Scotland's independence campaign and Jeremy Corbyn’s successful bid to lead and transform the UK Labour party.  These developments, a stagnant economy and mass migration are forcing the EU to rethink itself.

We face the biggest challenges in our history. Science and technology will not help us unless we are determined to act on the urgent need to tackle climate chaos, conserve a living planet, resolve economic inequality and break entrenched power structures. As I write, Cop 21, the 21st annual session of the International Climate Change Conference, is to be held in Paris, 30 November to 11 December 2015. Will the necessary action be finally agreed and acted upon in time to prevent catastrophe? Will we learn to live lightly on the planet? Will we learn to collaborate and resolve conflict without war?  Like all species, human beings are evolving. But will we do so in time?

The greatest obstacles, argues Dixon, are the lack of farsighted, courageous leaders who will speak the truth and disempowered citizens who think there is nothing they can do. Hence the subtitle of this book – A Call to Greatness.

This accessible book will help you make sense of the situation. It offers ways forward and practical solutions. It will help you decide how you want to engage with others in creating a better world through a peaceful revolution.  Above all it will give you hope.

Reviews

“This is an amazing book - not just because it tells us what’s wrong with our society and how to put it right - but because it is full of hope and love for people and our planet.  The world is a better place for The 21st Century Revolution – A Call to Greatness and its author Bruce Nixon - the book inspires me to help make the 21st century revolution happen.” - Neal Lawson, Chair of Compass

“A fascinating read, a really good contribution to the debate about the future of democracy.” - Katie Ghose, Chief Executive, Electoral Reform Society

“Read this excellent analysis of what's gone wrong, take heart and fight for positive change!” - Yvonne Roberts, Journalist and Fellow of the Young Foundation

About the Author

Bruce Nixon is a veteran change agent, author, writer, speaker and activist. He has published five books and many articles.

BOOK EVENT
‘The Truth About Trident: Disarming The Nuclear Argument’
with Timmon Wallis

Thursday 22nd September, 7pm
Entry £3, redeemable against any purchase

The UK is one of nine states possessing nuclear weapons. Renewal of the Trident programme extends Britain’s commitment to so-called nuclear ‘deterrence’ well into the second half of this century, despite treaty obligations and an ‘unequivocal undertaking’ to disarm. With more than 16,000 nuclear weapons stockpiled worldwide, the risk of one going off by accident or design is increasing every day.

Wallis in ‘The Truth about Trident’ explores the issues Trident presents and raises questions like: what would be the impact of their use? How safe are they in the meantime? Are they really necessary? Can we afford them? Are there better alternatives? This book aims to peel back layers of confusion and deceit to reach the truth about Trident.

With Parliament recently voting to renew Trident nuclear submarine programme, Timmon Wallis discusses what next for nuclear disarmament in the UK?

About the Author

Timmon Milne Wallis
was born in Boston, Massachusetts and moved with his family to Cullen on the Moray Firth. He studied politics and international relations at the University of Aberdeen. He then discovered the peace studies course at Bradford University in West Yorkshire and ended up getting a PhD from there.

Tim spent several years living at a peace camp and campaigning against the building of a nuclear cruise missile base at RAF Molesworth in Cambridgeshire. He currently works for Quaker Peace & Social Witness, where he is now job-sharing the position of Programme Manager for Peace and Disarmament.

BOOK EVENT

‘Irregular War: ISIS and the New Threat from the Margins’
with Paul Rogers
Wednesday 5th October, 7pm
Entry £3, redeemable against any purchase


If the rise of Islamic State can overthrow powerful states in a matter of weeks, what kind of a secure future can the world expect? After more than a decade of the war on terror, security specialists thought that Islamist paramilitary movements were in decline; the threat from ISIS in Syria and Iraq, Boko Haram in Nigeria, al-Qaida in Yemen, the chaos in Libya and the return of the Taliban in Afghanistan have all shown that to be wishful thinking. Once again the West is at war in the Middle East.

 

Paul Rogers, the distinguished global security specialist, provides a much-needed look at the rise of such global terrorist movements from the margins and presents a new argument as troubling as it is compelling.

 

 While Islamic State has taken root in the Middle East and North Africa and has increasing impact across the world as thousands of young men and women rally to its cause, Rogers argues that it should be seen not just as a threat in its own right but as a marker of a much more dangerous world riddled with irregular war.

 

Reviews


'The catastrophe of the so-called 'war on terror' exposed in brilliant detail by the towering intellect of Prof. Paul Rogers.' --Owen Jones

 

'These stories have been told before - of inequality, environmental stress and the inability of the militarily powerful to mould the world in their own image. But they have never been told in the context of the ISIS challenge or with the historical and cultural perspective that Paul Rogers brings to bear. It is not just ISIS - they are only the latest manifestation. Western countries, he says, face a series of 'revolts from the margins' and his disturbing analysis challenges all western leaders to think differently about the security of their societies. This book is not some important contribution to the international debate: rather, it is a masterly summary of a debate that we are emphatically not having, but which we certainly should.' --Michael Clarke, Former Director General, Royal United Services Institute

 

'Paul Rogers identifies ISIS as symptomatic of a much broader set of developments that Western leaders have not understood. This book provides a clear and authoritative account of what is really going on and how the conventional wisdom on security needs an urgent rethink. It is compelling reading' --Rosemary Hollis, Professor of International Politics, City, University of London


About the Author


Paul Rogers is Emeritus Professor of Peace Studies at Bradford University and the Global Security Consultant for the Oxford Research Group. He is a leading expert in the field of international security, arms control and political violence with over 30 years experience. Rogers is a regular commentator on global security issues in both national and international media, and is International Security Editor for Open Democracy.

 

He is the author of Why We’re Losing the War on Terror, and Losing Control: Global Security in the 21st Century.

BOOK LAUNCH

‘Understanding Eritrea: Inside Africa’s Most Repressive State’

with Martin Plaut
Wednesday 12th October, 7pm

Entry £3, redeemable against any purchase

The most secretive, repressive state in Africa is haemorrhaging its citizens. In some months as many Eritreans as Syrians arrive on European shores, yet the country is not convulsed by civil war. Young men and women risk all to escape. Many do not survive — their bones littering the Sahara; their bodies floating in the Mediterranean.

 

Still they flee, to avoid permanent military service and a future without hope. As the United Nations reported: ‘Thousands of conscripts are subjected to forced labour that effectively abuses, exploits and enslaves them for years.’

 

Eritreans fought for their freedom from Ethiopia for thirty years, only to have their revered leader turn on his own people. Independent since 1993, the country has no constitution and no parliament. No budget has ever been published. Elections have never been held and opponents languish in jail. International organisations find it next to impossible to work in the country.

 

Nor is it just a domestic issue. By supporting armed insurrection in neighbouring states it has destabilised the Horn of Africa. Eritrea is involved in the Yemeni civil war, while the regime backs rebel movements in Somalia, Ethiopia and Djibouti.

 

This book tells the untold story of how this tiny nation became a world pariah.


About the Author


Martin Plaut, the BBC World Service’s former Africa Editor, has published extensively on African affairs. An adviser to the Foreign Office and the US State Department, he is Senior Researcher at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies.

BOOK LAUNCH

‘Purple Prose: Bisexuality in Britain’ with Kate Harrad
Wednesday 19th October, 7pm

Entry £3, redeemable against any purchase

Purple Prose: Bisexuality in Britain is the first of its kind: a book written for and by bisexual people in the UK. This accessible collection of interviews, essays, poems and commentary explores topics such as definitions of bisexuality, intersections of bisexuality with other identities, stereotypes and biphobia, being bisexaul at work, teenage bisexuality and bisexuality through the years, the media’s approach to bisexual celebrities, and fictional bisexual characters.

Filled with raw, honest first-person accounts as well as thoughts from leading bisexual activists in the UK, this is the book you’ll buy for your friend who’s just come out to you as bi-curious, or for your parents who think your bisexuality is weird or a phase, or for yourself, because you know you’re bi but you don’t know where to go or what to do about it.


Reviews


“There are so few books published where the lives of bisexual people are the starting point. But that’s not the only reason Purple Prose: Bisexuality in Britain is important. It’s an interesting and enjoyable book, featuring contributions from a wide range of people from across the British bi community. Addressing the needs and concerns of bi people, this is a must-read for anyone who is attracted to people of more than one gender, and for those who know and love us.”

—Sue George, author, Women and Bisexuality, blogger, Bisexuality and Beyond


“At last! British bisexuals come out of the closet with Purple Prose – answering pressing questions about identity, activism, prejudice, relationships and much more. With bisexuality becoming ever more visible in mainstream culture, this book is essential reading for bi people and would-be allies, within the LGBT community and beyond. You need a copy in your life.”

—Louise Carolin, Deputy editor, DIVA magazine 


About the Author


Kate Harrad is a published fiction and non-fiction writer. She co-edited The Ladies’ Loos: From Plumbing to Plucking, a Practical Guide for Girls (The Friday Project, 2006), and her novel All Lies and Jest was published by Ghostwoods Books in 2011. She has over a decade of experience working in business editorial/writing positions, and has written for the Guardian, the F-Word and the Huffington Post. She has also been a bi activist for several years, and has co-organized numerous UK bi events.

PRE-ANARCHIST BOOKFAIR BOOK EVENT

‘The Bonnot Gang: The Story of the French Illegalists’ with Richard Parry
Friday 28th October, 7pm

Entry £3, redeemable against any purchase

This is the story of the infamous Bonnot Gang: the most notorious French anarchists ever, and as bank expropriators the inventors of the motorized “getaway.” It is the story of how the anarchist taste for illegality developed into illegalism—the theory that theft is liberating in itself. And how a number of young anarchists met in Paris in the years before the First World War, determined to live their lives to the full, regardless of the consequences.

 

Paris in 1911 was a city of riots, strikes, and savage repression of the working class. A stronghold of foreign exiles and homegrown revolutionaries, it was also the base of l’anarchie, the outspoken individualist weekly. L’anarchie drew together people for whom crime and revolution went hand in hand. There was Victor Kibalchich (later known as Victor Serge), whose inflammatory articles would put him on trial with the rest.

 

Then there was the gang itself: Victor’s childhood friend Raymond-La-Science, the tuberculous André Soudy, the serious-minded René Valet, Simentoff the southerner, and lastly the prime motivators of the group—the remorseless Octave Garnier and the experienced Jules Bonnot. Their robberies, daring and violent, would give them a lasting notoriety in France. Their deaths, as spectacular as their lives, would make them a legend among revolutionaries the world over.

 

Extensively researched and fully illustrated with rare period photos, drawings, and maps, this updated edition is the best account of the Bonnot Gang to appear in any language.


Reviews


“The first book on the subject in English, and one based on original research in the various libraries and collections in Paris, Amsterdam, and London. . . . Although the book is written as a history, the style is journalistic rather than stuffily academic, and paced so that the narrative gets progressively more exciting. All in all, this is that rare book indeed. It is a good read and action-packed; but also meticulously researched with an impressive attention to detail.”

—New Anarchist Review

 

“Although Parry does not try to romanticize the protagonists, the conclusion of the book does try to interpret their story as a political event arising out of the class struggle. . . . It will be widely read; it ought to be widely discussed.”

—Nicholas Walter in Freedom

 

“The book is original, almost naively frank, and instantly likeable. It requires no prior knowledge and although it describes itself as a ‘history,’ it often reads more like a novel. All told this is a great introduction to the subject and well worth the read.”

—Katy Armstrong-Myers in Socialist Lawyer

 

“Parry neither idealizes nor condemns the Bonnot Gang. Instead, he is trying to situate its activities in an ideological tradition and, at least as importantly, in the unforgiving class contradictions characterizing French society at the time.”

—Ulf Gyllenhak in Dagens Nyheter


About the Author


Richard Parry studied medieval and modern history at University College London and took a masters in European Social History at the London School of Economics. He subsequently became a leading human rights lawyer who specialised in defending protestors. He continues to live and practise criminal defence law in London, his native city.

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